Paul R. Barker ‘71
February 01, 2006
Paul R. Barker has worked for CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) International for over 20 years. Currently, he is the director of CARE Afghanistan. During his first Afghanistan tour, which ran from 1995 to 1999, the Taliban seized control of most of the country and quickly imposed severe restrictions. Barker, together with other CARE staff, successfully negotiated an agreement with the Taliban leadership in Kandahar that ensured the Taliban’s acceptance of CARE’s humanitarian and development programs. Despite the Taliban’s extreme stance regarding women, Barker also won local acceptance of and permission to expand CARE’s homeschooling program, which by the end of the Taliban regime was serving 48,000 children, 46 percent of whom were girls, and negotiated the expanded employment of women in Kabul to manage an assistance program for widows. He is also responsible for a winter employment program and for providing water to 20 percent of Kabul.
Barker earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master of arts in teaching from Lewis & Clark College, followed by a master’s degree in Islamic studies from the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to his Afghanistan tours of duty (he is currently on his second), Barker worked for CARE in Ethiopia, the West Bank/Gaza, and Egypt. He has also served as program director for the Lalmba Association in Sudan and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran. Barker is the author of numerous articles and opinion pieces focusing on security, reconstruction priorities, and counter-narcotics strategy in Afghanistan.
Barker and his wife, Nora, live in Kabul. They have three children: Joseph, Leila, and Eve, who is a first-year student at Lewis & Clark College.